Father Tim Kavanagh is the much-loved bachelor rector of Lord's Chapel church in the close-knit mountain community of Mitford, surrounded by long-time friends and parishioners—church secretary Emma, housekeeper Puny, local mayor Esther, a covey of eccentric regulars at the Main Street Grill, elderly heiress Miss Sadie Baxter, and jokester Uncle Billy and his dotty wife, Miss Rose, who likes to direct traffic wearing a military trench coat and rubber boots. Father Tim's life is absorbed with the life of his town and the pastoring of his lively congregation. But things change radically when Father Tim takes in teenager Dooley Barlow, the unruly orphaned grandson of the church gardener, and again when he falls in love with and weds his new next-door neighbor, Cynthia Coppersmith, who writes and illustrates award-winning children's books. Father Tim and Cynthia struggle with the idea of his possibly retiring from his long career as a parish priest. He neglects his diet and exercise and is injured when he goes into a diabetic coma while driving and wrecks his car. During his recuperation, he battles depression as he agonizes over questions about his worth, his work and his future. Meanwhile, Dooley has grown into a fine young man, and as he heads off to a prestigious college (financed by Miss Sadie), he asks Father Tim and Cynthia to adopt him. Father Tim prays for direction and finds an answer through scripture. In a final sermon, he surrenders himself to God's will and is soon rewarded by his bishop with a new job as part-time minister of a struggling rural church. Hand in hand with Cynthia, he steps confidently into his future.